The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) will stop at nothing to protect its interests and take advantage of a certain laxity of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The situation worries the United States.
The assassination of a judge, the attack on a senior official, a video riddled with threats. Mexico’s largest drug cartel openly defies authorities.
The American administration demands that an offensive be launched against this powerful organization of Mexican drug traffickers.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to be reluctant to use the hard way. But nearly 2,000 bank accounts linked to the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) were frozen in June.
In February, Mexico had already extradited to the United States the son of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, “El Mencho”, the leader of the CJNG, whose head Washington has put a price for 10 million dollars.
“The government’s offensive against the cartel, now considered the most threatening to the interests of power, has hardened. It is supported by the United States, ”said political scientist Sergio Aguayo, interviewed by AFP.
Criticized for his ineffectiveness in combating traffickers, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador went to Washington on July 8 on an official visit.
Lopez Obrador prefers to stick to a pacifist speech, made of “hugs and not balls” as his opponents say. Witness the fiasco of the capture, last October, of the son of prisoner Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio.
According to Aguayo, Mexico is reacting “once again” to the United States’ request to attack an enemy organization, as happened with the bloodthirsty Zetas under the government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).
“Dialectic of violence”
This offensive was relayed by the United States with the capture of 600 members of the CJNG in March. After the extradition of Rubén Oseguera González, alias “el Menchito”, number 2 of the cartel, the American police arrested his daughter Jessica Oseguera González, alias “la Negra”, in Washington.
According to Aguayo, the cartel follows a “dialectic of violence” through “ostentatious and noisy” actions that culminated in the failed assassination attempt of Mexico City’s security secretary, Omar García Harfuch, on June 26.
A key player in the capture of several drug traffickers, the senior official accused the CJNG by name. The unprecedented ambush set by 30 armed men in a luxury district of the capital is not, however, the only feat of arms of this cartel.
His hired killers killed judge Uriel Villegas and his wife in Colima on June 16. Villegas was leading one of the trials for which the “Menchito” was extradited.
The last act of this bloody play is the publication of a video in which some 80 men in uniform parade near armored vehicles equipped with weapons of war and chant their loyalty to “el senor Mencho”.
The message of the video to the federal government “is very clear: if you go after us, we will retaliate,” decrypts Falko Ernst, an expert from the International Crisis Group, on his Twitter account.
The Mexican press previously revealed a list of leaders the CJNG intended to target. Among them, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, who approved the extradition of “Menchito”, and the head of financial intelligence, Santiago Nieto, architect of the banking blockade imposed on the cartels.
This does not prevent López Obrador from repeating over and over that “intelligence takes precedence over strength” and that he will not apply a strategy which he believes has led Mexico to the current situation of violence.
Some 290,000 murders have been committed in Mexico since 2006, when the Calderón government launched a military offensive against drugs.
The murders reached historic highs during his tenure, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are going to witness a period of intensification of violence and attacks (…) This group is ready to take measures closer to political terrorism than to traditional criminal violence”, warns Aguayo.